Advertisement

How does the small size of an ingredient help it enter my skin?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology

An ingredient must be tiny enough to get through the epidermis or the pores. For example, the collagen molecule is far too large to penetrate past the surface of the skin. It can only sit on top. This is why nanotechnology (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter) and microencapsulation are hot topics in the cosmetic world right now. Chemists are shrinking ingredient particles to a microscopic molecular weight in order for them to permeate the cell membrane that has microscopic channels that might allow a microsized particle through. (Nanotechnology is also being used with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in sunscreens to make the formulations more transparent.) Besides nanosizing ingredients, they can be suspended in microscopic silica shells that may possibly be able to penetrate the epidermis. Ideally, once the microsphere reaches the dermis it will go through a chemical reaction that disintegrates the capsule and releases the ingredient inside, allowing it to be absorbed. One prescription retinoid uses microsphere technology to better penetrate the skin without causing as much irritation as usual.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

More About this Book

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

Continue Learning about Skin Cleansing Products

How does using a mild cleanser help skin stay healthy?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
A mild cleanser removes excess dirt and oil from your skin while maintaining a healthy balance of oi...
More Answers
Will an oil-based cleanser make my skin break out?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
If you have acne-prone skin, a dermatologist may recommend that you avoid using cleansers that c...
More Answers
What is the best product to use to clean your hands?
Karen L. Gorton, PhD, MS, RNKaren L. Gorton, PhD, MS, RN
Soap, water and friction are the best product to use to clean your hands. Wet your hands prior to ap...
More Answers
What Should I Keep in Mind When Using aPower Facial Cleanser?
What Should I Keep in Mind When Using aPower Facial Cleanser?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.